One way to think about user behavior and forum communities is to apply B.J. Fogg’s Behavior Model. The Behavior Model states that Motivation, Ability, and a Trigger must converge at the same moment for a Behavior to occur.
When you have an icon for your forum on the home screen of your users’ phones, you just created a shortcut (both literally and figuratively) to achieve the user behavior you desire (e.g., repeat visits).
The icon helps solve the ‘Ability’ and ‘Trigger’ challenges. With regards to Ability, the icon is easy to click on; it does not require much skill. In so far as a Trigger, the icon acts that way every time the user looks at their phone when he or she is bored.
But what about Motivation? We think Motivation is driven by having a critical mass of users. Users are motivated by the opportunity to build friendships, share knowledge, and garner respect from other members.
We think this combination of factors is why such apps are so successful and it explains why we’re pushing to have our communities listed in the Apple and Android app stores.